Main Dishes, Recipes, Tarts & Quiches, Vegetarian

Butternut Squash, Spinach & Leek Tart

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One of my fall habits has been to pick up a butternut squash (or two) with every trip to the Farmer’s Market. A trip every week, or even every other week over the course of several months equals a whole lot of squash. I’m great at bringing it home, roasting it, pureeing it and freezing it for later in the winter. What I’m not particularly good at is finding new uses for that beautiful squash puree besides my go to mac and cheese. So when I found a recipe for a Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart with Gruyère in a recent issue of Cooking Light, I tour it out, set it aside with high hopes of actually making it.

A few weeks ago while organizing my recipes (which really means stacking my magazine clippings, printouts and random recipe cards into neat piles with the intention of creating a recipe binder. These recipes will never make it into said binder and will end up needing to be reorganized a few weeks later. Repeat.), I came across that recipe again. What once looked tasty and creative, suddenly felt one note and underwhelming. I loved the idea of a butternut squash tart, but just butternut squash? The mushrooms were just sprinkled on top and the Gruyère, secretly stashed, deep within the squash. But maybe I could create layers and add color. A separate row of cheese to get the full sharpness of the Gruyère. A layer of spinach for color, nutrition and flavor.

What I ended up with was an intriguing blend of Quiche, tart and savory dessert. The pretty sliced layering effect I was hoping for didn’t work out so well, but the favors did. Served along side a green salad, it was the perfect lunch or light supper for a brisk wintery day.

Butternut Squash, Spinach & Leek Tart (Inspired by Cooking Light)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 c mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1 large leek, green parts only, cut into half moons
  • 1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 c butternut squash puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c shredded Gruyere cheese (about 5oz), divided
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole wheat frozen pie shell

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add white wine and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender and wine has evaporated.

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In a second skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive over medium high heat.  Add leeks and saute until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and continue sauteing until spinach has wilted but remains bright green.

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In a medium bowl, whisk squash, eggs, 1/2 cup Gruyère, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper until well blended.

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To assemble tart, spread one third butternut squash mixture in frozen pie shell. Layer with one half spinach and 1/4 cup Gruyère. Repeat layers then add remaining one third butternut squash mixture. Finish with sautéed mushrooms and remaining 1/4 cup Gruyère.

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Bake tart for 45 minutes until fully set and edges are browned.

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